Premiership Lowdown: Exeter Chiefs

Fact-File:

Last season: Champions (2nd)

Home ground: Sandy Park (162 miles)

Odds: 4/1

Baxter’s battlers:

Premiership champions Exeter will undoubtedly be one of the main challengers for the domestic crown next season as they look to continue their 17-match unbeaten run.

The Chiefs defeated Wasps after extra-time in one of the great Premiership finals to continue their meteoric rise through the top division since their 2010 promotion.

The Devon side have several high-quality players including captain Gareth Steenson at fly-half, two-time Premiership top try scorer Number 8 Thomas Waldron and British Lion winger Jack Nowell.

The Chiefs’ trademark driving lineouts are their biggest strength with Waldron in particular benefiting from the forward pack outmuscling almost anything that it faces but the speed of Nowell and fellow wide man Olly Woodburn is also capable of getting Chiefs over the try-line.

It will be no surprise if Rob Baxter’s men come out on top again in the coming season, although their indifferent start to the last campaign will give Wasps fans hope that they can be defeated.

Ins and Outs:

In:

Matt Kvesic (Gloucester), Tom O’Flaherty (Ospreys), Toby Salmon (Rotherham Titans), Sam Simmonds (promoted from Academy), Nic White (Montpellier), James Freeman (Jersey Reds)

Out:

Dave Lewis (Harlequins), Damian Welch (Cardiff Blues), Will Hooley (Bedford Blues), Hayden Thomas (retired), Geoff Parling (Melbourne Rebels), Tom Johnson (retired)

Last season v Wasps:

Premiership Round 1: Wasps 25-20 Exeter

Anglo-Welsh Cup: Exeter 52-5 Wasps

Premiership Round 14: Exeter 35-35 Wasps

Premiership Grand Final: Wasps 20-23 Exeter

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